#017 – Tyler Morrison

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Today on the show we have Tyler Morrison, a talented Christian singer-(now)songwriter. On September 4, he’ll be releasing his debut album “Surrender.” Tyler is here to share all about how his music ministry has evolved and where it may go.

To receive a free download of “He Leadeth Me” visit tylermorrisonmusic.com and subscribe.

This week’s book and film recommendations (check them out!):

Dave Eggers’s “What Is the What” (recommended by Pablo Colindres)

People Places Things (recommended by Slade)

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#013 – After Graduation with Slade Lane

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podcastimageAfter a while, a new episode of the podcast is here.This time, Slade is back to talk about life after graduation. We both recently joined the ranks of the unemployed and this change has resulted in many a fearful look at the future. We hereby present our musings on these matters.

Life (a week) after college

Now that college is over and I join the ranks of the unemployed, I should have some time to write. I can write all those things I wanted to for the last six months, but just didn’t find the time to do it.

After a senior clarinet recital, a conducting recital, and an honors thesis, I can feel quite accomplished and happy to have a break. Moreover, having to wait about three months for the government to either approve or deny my application for OPT (basically a one-year work permit as part of my student status in the US), would force me to stop.

That stop for me, of course, means having time to work on personal projects and read tons of books on all kinds of topics. I can read Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America,” a Christmas gift, or Jorge Catañeda’s “Amarres Perros.” Also, it is a great time to read that one Kent Haruf novel I have not read.

I could resume my creative writing efforts and start a second short story. Perhaps it is time to write those creative essays I’m scared to write. Or I could also try to begin a novel that I’d probably abandon by August.

It is also a great time to review music theory, work on my aural skills, expand my music history knowledge, attempt to finish some compositions, become familiar with more orchestral repertoire, and improve my staccato and altissimo register on the clarinet.

Honestly, I won’t accomplish most of these things. Above all this, I need to learn to become an adult. That seems to be the priority if I wish to survive a world I’m not prepared to join and yet I must.

This is all to say, it’s been a week since I finished college, five days since my parents returned home, and I’m ready to admit I do not like this.

While the break comes every summer, this time it does not arrive with the (sometimes feared) promise of school in the fall.

Whether I like it or not, though, doesn’t matter. I know it is time for a transition and I must go through it. There is no way around it.

Blogging, honest sharing

I have not written in a while. Usually, every Sabbath I would make time to write. For some months, I had been quite consistent I was even surprising myself I had been able to keep up with the blog and the podcast. All that fell apart in the last month, though.

As grad school applications deadlines got closer and the end of the semester approached, I was overwhelmed with all the work that needed to get done. Every week when Sabbath came, I didn’t feel like writing. I was burned out, both physically and emotionally.

I definitely thought about writing, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything that wasn’t about all the work I had. Sure, I started some drafts on some interesting thoughts I still plan to share, but at the moment it felt like to much work. I first had to work some things out in my life before I could write about these other topics.

Even now that the semester is over, I still feel like finishing those drafts require a little bit of lying to myself. It doesn’t make a lot of sense since I still think about those things quite often. Yet, it makes sense when I open my computer and try typing. It feels dishonest.

All this talk leads me to the purpose of this blog. I want to be honest, but how honest can I be? On his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” Stephen King wrote, “If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

Is that really the condition for truthful writing? I’m not ready to give up my membership for the polite society, but I do want honesty.

I don’t want to talk about myself, but I sometimes need to before I can move on to things that are worth your time.

I want to question love in a serious way. I want to ask whether we lie to ourselves and other when we say we can do whatever we put our minds to. I want to point out the shortcomings of the groups I consider myself part of (at least kind of sympathize with) such as Christianity, Seventh-day Adventism, and the left with all its oft-petty activism.

I want to call you ignorant and close-minded when you behave like a jerk, asshole, or prick—depends on which one offends you the most.

And I want you to hold me to the same standards, because, as anyone who knows me knows, I can be all those things thanks to a superiority complex I can’t seem to get rid of.

If this doesn’t make much sense, I’m sorry. I guess I’m recovering from a tough semester.

#009 – Ben VandeVere

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Although I believed Ben and I were completely different people, I learned we have many things in common. Ben VandeVere has founded two a cappella groups in the last few years. He talked about V7‘s history and all the time he put into that project before starting his new group R3sonate. As if that was not enough, Ben also has a Youtube channel titled “Deep-Fried Brain.”

All these projects present many challenges. Ben and I talked about them.

Ben VandeVere in the “studio” where the magic happens.

Almost forgot, here is Ben’s blog where it all started.

Discipline and commitment

As a musician, discipline is extremely important. You gotta schedule your practice time and stick to it. It doesn’t always work out as planned because you might have to schedule an important meeting like reviewing your literature review with your thesis advisor (coming up soon!). Or maybe you are just having a terrible day and don’t want to practice. Practicing is nothing like a performance; all the glamour just isn’t there.

Practicing is a demanding activity for your brain, if you do it the right way. Moreover, it can be boring and stressful. But you gotta do it.

Before coming to college, I was not disciplined with my practice, or with anything. All of a sudden, I had to develop this thing everyone admires but no one likes.

However, I think it is safe to say I am close to being a disciplined clarinetist.

Just as I have developed discipline to practice, I must do it in some other areas, and there is one that has been patiently waiting for me. Given all the pressure I feel at the moment, much of it self-inflicted, I need to spend time with God. Seriously.

Commitment has been on my mind since school began in August. I have many important decisions this year, both personal and professional. I really need some help, guidance and support. Maybe I would have all those things if I could be disciplined in my relationship with God.

And I’ve tried.

I’ve tried to make time for God at any time of the day. I’ve done it for about a week at  time, but then I start to think, Well, maybe I couldn’t do it today but tomorrow I will.

Perhaps I need to start by treating my devotional life as I do my clarinet practice: with seriousness.

If I have committed and developed discipline in my clarinet practice, this blog and the podcast, God can help me do it with my devotional life.

Perhaps I’ve been too relaxed about what my relationship with God should look like that I fail to see how much I’ve neglected it. Maybe that is why I am so afraid of the future. It might be the reason why I struggle with a deep-rooted desire for transcendence.

Can I really develop a healthy devotional life? God, will you help me? Will you help me get rid of these fears and commit to you?

Shabbat shalom.